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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Christ's All Volunteer Army (Study)

2 Timothy 2:3-4, soldiers for Christ, dedicated soldiers of the cross
"When in danger the state can conscript men to fight for her freedom, but there are no conscripts in the army of the Lord. To bear a cross the Christian must take it up of his own free will. No authority can compel us to feed the hungry or evangelize the lost or pray for revival or sacrifice ourselves for Christ’s sake and the sake of suffering humanity." ~ A.W. Tozer 

Volunteer soldiers: 
  • Know they have an enemy. 
  • Expect sacrifices and hardships.
  • Believe in their mission. 
  • Are serious about training for battle. 

Cross-carriers have these same attitudes but they are compelled by more than mission. They're also compelled by their love for Christ, a love that willingly sets aside worldly goals and comforts (Romans 12:1-2). 

"A good soldier of Christ...doesn't get mixed up in non-military activities. This pleases his commanding officer." 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Today let's read and remember Christ's words in Luke 9:23-24.

Bible Study

Our modern American Christian culture often usually minimizes God's words in Luke 9:23-24. It's easy to get caught up in being a "couch Christian" instead of a cross-carrying Christian, but Christ's words are clear.

One common misunderstanding: We think cross-carriers are only those who serve on the mission field or in full-time Christian work. But God calls us to be cross-carriers in all lines of work, in all locations, in all situations. No matter our profession or situation, we should make Christ's goals our priority.

1. Ponder the meaning in these verses. When is it hardest to deny yourself? Ask God to help you in those areas.

Luke 9:23-26: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

2. What do the words "living sacrifice" mean to you?
Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3. What "civilian affairs" distract you from devotion to Christ? Ask God to help you overcome those distractions.
2 Timothy 2:3-4: Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

To do part 2 of this study and read insights for this study, see "Couch Christians."
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted 

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